Outpatient addiction treatment
Living with an addiction brings with it many challenges. There are times life feels overwhelming and a person can feel helpless in terms of what to do. Throughout the UK, people are entering rehabilitation programmes.
The Office for National Statistics reported that 52% of people in addiction treatment in the UK are being treated for opiate addiction, 28% are being treated for alcohol, and accessing treatment for crack cocaine and ketamine use is on the rise.
The report also stated that 47% of people who left addiction treatment were free of dependency.(1)
Treatment works for thousands of people from all walks of life. In order to have the highest chances of success, it’s useful to know about what options are available.
What is outpatient addiction treatment?
There are two types of services people can access for addiction treatment: inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient treatment is what’s typically viewed as “going to rehab”. This is when a person has a residential stay at a clinic for a length of time.
The stay usually lasts anywhere from between five and twenty-eight days. Nowadays, with the increase in availability, patients very often go to a rehab near where they live.
Outpatient services are where people access a clinic or centre while living at home. Outpatient services tend to operate near to where the person lives and/or works. The clinic will have a schedule of activities, including group sessions, for people to access on their own terms. There are also drug and alcohol workers available for one-to-one sessions.
Outpatient services will either be privately funded or NHS funded, although the latter is much more difficult to access in terms of availability.
Benefits of outpatient addiction treatment
There are a number of benefits that make outpatient services very effective for some of those seeking treatment.
Outpatient programmes offer flexibility. A person is able to go to activities and support sessions as and when it fits in with their schedule. This can be very helpful where a person has a busy life, or if they have responsibilities in terms of work or having dependents.
Outpatient services are especially useful for those with mild substance misuse issues as well as for those who are abstinent.
Depending on the centre that is accessed, some outpatient options offer an excellent level of care and support. A conversation with OK Rehab can help you identify which services in your local area offer the type of service most suitable for your needs.
What’s missing from outpatient treatment?
There are a few reasons outpatient services might not suit everyone. To start with outpatient services means that a person won’t get a break from their usual environment. A break from where the person usually spends their time often makes it easier for a person to not use alcohol or drugs.
Environmental triggers can be very hard to manage. A stay at a clinic away from substances is highly efficient for many beginning their recovery.
A stay at a clinic offers an immersive approach to treatment which isn’t available when staying at home. Having access to treatments and professional support throughout the day can really help with a person’s cravings and triggers at the start of rehabilitation.
Another point is that when a person stays at home, there is less opportunity to connect with others with similar goals. When undergoing a rehabilitation programme, meeting others who are experiencing similar addiction issues can develop a very beneficial system of support and connection. This can make all the difference in terms of long-term abstinence.
Finally, taking part in an outpatient programme will mean treatments take longer to complete. This is because they work on a part-time basis.
What treatments are available on an outpatient rehab programme?
A rehabilitation programme includes various treatments. For a person to recover from drug and alcohol addiction, an all-encompassing approach is required. Both the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction need to be addressed.
Depending on the clinic accessed, there are different treatment options. Private clinics provide a high level of psychotherapeutic input. This is incredibly important when it comes to supporting a person towards a sober lifestyle in a sustainable way.
People are also invited to take part in 12 Step groups, alternative therapy groups (like art and music therapy) and mindfulness sessions. This work brings an excellent opportunity for connection and thinking outside of one’s own addiction experience.
Detox during outpatient treatment
As well as psychological treatments, people might be offered a detox option. This is usually for those who have physical dependencies. There are, however, implications around trying to do a detox while remaining at home.
These include the following:
- An incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes painful withdrawal period.
- Increased cravings.
- Risk of dangerous seizures.
- Needing supervision (you need at least two people you trust to look after you in “shifts”).
- Lack of professional medical attention around the clock.
For those with physical dependencies on substances such as alcohol, heroin, or Xanax (alprazolam), a medically supervised detox is highly recommended. This ensures a person’s safety. At its worst, detoxing from a physical dependence has the potential to lead to death.
Why medication is prescribed during detox from physical dependency
Medication is prescribed during a detox period in order to make the symptoms of withdrawal as comfortable as possible.
Medications such as Librium, Subutex, and various benzodiazepines are often used. These medications support the brain and body to function as the problem substances are leaving the body. This helps to retain a chemical and hormonal balance so that withdrawal and detox are as stress-free and comfortable as possible.
Benefits of detox during a residential stay
A residential stay is arguably the safest possible way to detox. Onsite doctors and clinical nurses monitor symptoms and provide a high level of support and care. Doctors also ensure that a detox occurs in a tapered way, reducing the amounts of the problem substance safely so that withdrawal symptoms are reduced. This helps a patient to manage their cravings, sleep more effectively and reduces panic and anxiety.
There is also the option for a person to access outpatient services, but to do the detox phase within a clinic or in an NHS hospital. Unfortunately, waiting times for NHS detoxes are very lengthy. Private clinics, on the other hand, are usually able to offer a very quick turnover between referral and admission.
Addiction treatment in the UK falls into two categories of services: inpatient or outpatient. Both have highly effective outputs. It is essential, however, that a person is matched to a service that will suit their individual requirements in order for them to experience the highest level of success.
Outpatient services are very effective for those who benefit from a flexible approach to treatment. Although input is less intense (than inpatient services), this type of service can support many people to manage mild substance misuse and to maintain a life of recovery.
Whatever type of service chosen, a person with a physical dependency can access a safe medically supervised detox through inpatient clinics and this is highly recommended to minimise dangerous risks.